Image gallery gives you a helping hand in grouping your photo together. Understanding this, WordPress is equipped with a built-in Create Gallery feature in the media uploader allowing you to add a simple gallery to pages or posts.
However, this method forces you to use shortcode which is not beginner-friendly. Plus, it’s not powerful enough to serve the growing needs of users. That’s why you should seek help from supportive plugins.
There are hundreds of free and premium plugins making the process of creating a photo gallery in WordPress faster and easier. Choosing a suitable plugin for your site is not an easy task, though.
To filter out the very best tools, we put together a collection of the top 7 free gallery plugins for you to choose from. Before digging into the details, we can quickly discuss reasons to create an image gallery as well as a few major factors you should base on when picking a plugin.
- Why Creating a Photo Album Gallery
- Factors to Consider When Choosing a WordPress Gallery Plugin
- #1 NextGEN Gallery Plugin
- #2 Photo Gallery by 10web
- #3 FooGallery – Best Image Gallery & Responsive Photo Gallery
- #4 Envira Photo Gallery
- #5 Modula Image Gallery
- #6 PDA Gold – Protect WordPress Photo Gallery
Why Creating a Photo Album Gallery
WordPress, by default, displays all your images as a long list in post or page content. It’s okay to have 1 or 2 photos. What if you have 10 or even hundreds of images to show, visitors have to scroll down to an endless list. This directly affects user experience and your site SEO.
Thanks to galleries, you can organize files in a more attractive way. Not only users can switch images in the same area but they can also see animations between these pictures. As a result, you take your website design to the next level.
Hoppy bloggers, photographers, designers, or e-commerce site owners give special love to this functionality. By applying photo galleries with different animations, their works and portfolios on the website will look easy on the eyes. Then, they can greatly attract new customers and clients.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a WordPress Gallery Plugin
Each plugin suits a different type of user or website so you must consider certain points before adding them to your site.
Features of Gallery Plugins
This is the most important thing you should bear in mind when picking a gallery. Do you need animations and effects? Is it important to have an image-sharing option? Can the plugin support my e-commerce site? How about the drag and drop capability?
Jot down all features and requirements you need for your gallery first. Then, list out multiple plugins at a time that meet each of these requirements. There is no perfect solution, so select the one that includes almost all these features.
Ease of Use of Photo Gallery Plugins
Uploading images to the library requires no effort. But building in an image gallery is a completely different story. You have to go through the process of choosing a layout, add the thumbnail image, pick the animation, and tons more.
An ideal gallery plugin should reduce your work and fasten the process. As a beginner, can you find it difficult to get started? Do you have any problem finding features or taking any steps?
To check it, find tutorial videos or screenshots of the plugin. If the answers to these questions are NO, we recommend looking at another plugin. This saves you from installing a plugin then removing it to add another.
WordPress Page Speed
A gallery always includes a lot of images, for sure. This may affect your page speed due to their large file sizes combined. Consequently, you may face the challenge of ruining your site SEO as well as user experience.
Apart from page load time, you also need to look at the requests when loading images along with your page size with the gallery. Make sure you pick the plugin that has the lowest numbers of these elements.
Any plugin always comes with a security risk to your site, especially plugins that haven’t been updated for a while. This creates vulnerability holes for malware to attack your site.
You should check if your image gallery plugin is tested with major releases of WordPress. Then, see the latest time that developers update the tool. These two key factors will primarily speak out how secure these plugins are.
Powerful features encourage users to install a photo album gallery plugin but customer support is the determinant to keep them stay.
You should go to their site and find the support section. If possible, create a test support ticket and ask something about the product. The way they respond to you presents how you will get support in the future.
What’s more, give a glance at the Support and Reviews section of that plugin on the WordPress directory. A long list of pending support requests and a few problems solved? This is not your ideal WordPress photo album gallery solution.
Once determining 5 main elements to review before installing a plugin, let’s go over the top 7 plugins for your perfect WordPress image gallery.
#1 NextGEN Gallery Plugin
Trusted by 700 thousand users worldwide, NextGen Gallery proves a clear-cut winner in gallery creation for photographers and image professionals. The plugin allows you to manage thousands of images and sell them or even share them with clients.
You have full control over your images, from batching upload photos, importing metadata, to adding/deleting/rearranging/sorting them, and many more. The gallery can be added anywhere on your site with a gallery block in your page builder.
What’s more, NextGEN will auto-watermark as well as resize your images in the gallery. You don’t have to worry about inconsistent galleries with both big and small photos.
With the free versions, you own three gallery styles, including slideshow, thumbnail, and image browser galleries. It requires you to upgrade to the Pro version to explore endless gallery styles.
Every benefit comes with a drawback, and the same thing goes for NextGen’s features. The plugin provides tons of advanced features and functionalities, it’s not suitable for casual WordPress users who just want a lightweight plugin to create simple galleries.
If you’re using the free version, you can request support from the WordPress directory. However, it takes time to solve your problem due to the high volume of users. The Pro customers, on the other hand, will have a quicker assistant from the team.
#2 Photo Gallery by 10web
Receiving a lot of love from users with a 4.6/5-star rating, Photo Gallery by 10Web is your perfect plugin to create gorgeous galleries for mobile users. Built with the mobile user experience in mind, the plugin does its best to deliver responsive galleries and albums on your WordPress site.
You have more selections of the gallery style compared NextGEN with Slideshow, Thumbnails, Image Browser, and Extended and Compact Album. It’s possible for you to customize the layout to personalize your galleries.
Out of the box, not only can you add images but also play with videos in your gallery. Since Photo Gallery plugin supports YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Flickr, and Dailymotion. Simply get the video URL then paste it into the gallery.
In terms of image protection, Photo Gallery by 10Web offers you 2 options: watermark and disabling right-click. You can easily prevent ill-intentioned users from using your images illegally.
The Premium versions boost the plugin capabilities with preloaded themes, social sharing, and addons to sell digital images.
#3 FooGallery – Best Image Gallery & Responsive Photo Gallery
FooGallery should be included in your considerable list thanks to its simple yet powerful features. Unlike NextGen, FooGallery is exactly what casuals and beginners are looking for. It’s easy to use and doesn’t affect too much on your page speed.
The plugin also says yes to previewing image galleries so there is no more concern about mistakes when accidentally publish the gallery. You can manage everything right in the WordPress built-in media library.
FooGallery Lite hands you 6 templates while the Pro version adds 3 more to the list. The video gallery is available in the Pro plugin only. Once upgrading, you can filter images using tags and categories, load images from other sources, add hover effects, and others.
#4 Envira Photo Gallery
The 4.8-star rating with 1,261 5-stars reviews makes Envira outstanding from its competitors in the WordPress gallery niche. With the drag and drop feature, you don’t have to be a developer to build a beautiful gallery on your WordPress site.
It works compatible with famous page builders like Elementor, Beaver Builder, and Divi to add gallery blocks to your page editor. Creating a gallery just takes you a few minutes now.
Taking SEO optimization as the most important factor when choosing a gallery creator? Envira ensures to deliver the most responsive and mobile-friendly galleries along with the lowest page speed.
Mentioning gallery and album protection, you have watermarking and password protection. You can easily prevent unauthorized users from accessing your WordPress.
There are other features you can try out, such as social sharing, deep linking, pagination, image proofing, and CSS styles, etc.
The support service from Envira is great. Almost all problems are marked completed within 1 or 2 business days.
#5 Modula Image Gallery
Another big brand of WordPress photo gallery calls name Modula. The plugin enables you to build good-looking grid galleries and fully customize them, from image cropping, mobile responsive, to multiple file types combination.
The Lite version offers nothing other than grid gallery creation capabilities. You need to upgrade to the Pro version to access more advanced features. By paying at least $39 per year, each image professional can add videos to the gallery, convert them to an attractive slider, or create an album with a cover photo and image counts.
What’s more, you will be amazed at the file protection options provided by Modula. The plugin helps watermark images to prevent illegal usage, password protect galleries to block unauthorized access, and disable right-click to stop downloading.
More importantly, if you plan to switch from any other WordPress gallery builders to Modula, it’s not necessary to bother about losing your current works. It’s because the tool migrates and converts all your galleries to its platform.
#6 PDA Gold – Protect WordPress Photo Gallery
PDA Gold doesn’t assist you in forming a photo gallery, of course. It supports you in protecting images and videos in the gallery.
WordPress media file security is taken into account due to the rapid rising of image theft and digital piracy. Others might make use of images in your galleries, and probably earn income from them without your notice.
While plugins like Photo Gallery by 10Web, Envira, and Modula build these functions right in their Pro versions, others don’t offer this by default. That’s where PDA Gold comes in handy.
As the name indicates, PDA Gold blocks unwelcome users from viewing your image gallery. You can grant access to a few people only, such as teammates, project reviewers, clients, and partners. There is no more worry about unpermitted downloads of your images.
Which Is Your Ideal Responsive Photo Gallery Plugin for WordPress
A WordPress image gallery is a good chance for impressing visitors and making your web design look modern. However, when it comes to picking a suitable gallery plugin, it’s not an easy task at all.
We’ve introduced you to the 5 best plugins to build appealing galleries for your WordPress site along with a bonus solution to protect your images.
It’s difficult to say which plugin is over another one. Each comes with a set of benefits and drawbacks that directly affect your gallery appearance and site performance. You need to base on many factors and consider them carefully before making a decision.
Which is your perfect WordPress gallery solution? Let us know in the comment section below!